The protagonist in this book had a rough start as an orphan abused in a nunnery. Her tough-love father returns for her when she is eight years old. They both work for royals who use them. Despite this, Reveka holds no grudges, tries to do the right thing and works towards her impossible dream of becoming an herbalist. When a curse on the princesses of the castle starts hurting everyone, and the prize for breaking the curse would let her become an herbalist, she cleverly and sneakily takes matters into her own hands.
The most feminist aspects of this book are rather subtle. Reveka criticizes the status quo. She thinks of everyone’s well-being rather than trying to follow the rules. She is chastises the princesses for being selfish and using religious superstition as justification for letting others get hurt. There are no obvious male romantic interests. She admits to small attractions to a young boy and an older man, but those feelings are brushed aside in favor of practical matters. Reveka is even outraged by her father’s ridiculous love interest. This hero exhibits great critical thinking, independence and empathy.